Tag Archives: Flip-flops

Seasonal Trade-Off

Image by Tikovka1355 from Pixabay.

As a kid, did you ever trade your lunchbox Hostess cupcake for a classmate’s homemade cookies?

Then realized the chocolate chips were sneaky raisins. That your classmate’s mother considered sugar the devil’s invention.

Some of us seem destined for the short straw.

This month, though, we Hoosiers trade summer for autumn.

This flower child will miss petunias’ glorious, subtle fragrance. Hummingbirds and butterflies mooching off zinnias and cosmos. Hubby won’t miss mowing grass, but if the scent could be bottled, I’d buy 10.

If frost must clear out my flowers, fall’s show-off foliage more than makes up for the loss. Especially as I’ll be done with endless watering, weeding and feeding my gardens.

Instead, I’ll be raking, right? Seasonal trade-off.

And I gladly give up a hog farm’s stench on a 95-degree afternoon for fall’s clean crispness.

During summer, we don’t mess with coats or matching gloves. Also, we don’t lose them in three different places. During autumn, though, my old friend, last year’s parka, welcomes me warmly on chilly days.

Foodwise, I already miss sweet corn. I also miss potato salad, made with my mother’s recipe. She kept her signature dish in the same summer-only category as white shoes. I’ll probably do likewise.

During summer, I buy six kinds of fruit. To continue that during cold-weather months, however, requires a second mortgage. Weekly.

Still, who can reject fall’s trade-off? Apple crisp and caramel apples, or pumpkin pie and other yummy pumpkin spice foods? Plus, comfort food abounds.

Other seasonal trade-offs:

  • I’ll miss: nightly cicada concerts and fireflies’ light shows. Welcome: mosquitoes’ demise.
  • I’ll miss: sitting on restaurant patios. Welcome: sitting beside fireplaces.
  • I’ll miss: barbecue fragrances pervading my neighborhood. Welcome: woodsmoke that says, “I’m keeping someone warm.”
  • I’ll miss: our ceiling fan’s breezes at night. Welcome: quilts and flannel jammies.
  • I’ll miss: flip-flop freedom. Welcome: favorite boots.

I will happily exchange:

  • Flab-revealing tops for flannel shirts.
  • Fruit processing at 10:30 p.m. versus consuming it in a cobbler at 10:30 p.m.
  • Multiple daily baths to dispel sweat, bug spray and sunblock for single baths whose effects last more than an hour.

Unfortunately, we’ll trade air-conditioning costs for heating bills.

Still, doesn’t the seasonal trade-off seem fair?

Although good-for-us virtues, like those healthy cookies, lurk during both seasons, summer and fall taste good.

Image by Valentin from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What seasonal exchanges will you make?

Classic Post: August — the Not-So-Special Month?

This post first appeared on August 8, 2018.

My daughter once wished for a different birthday month. I referred her to God for further discussion.

I see her point. August boasts no holidays — not even a fake holiday like St. Patrick’s Day. Nobody parties on the eve of August 1, as in January.

The hotter the weather, the more we chill. Dressing up is wearing matched right and left flip-flops.

Still, a tiny tadpole of awareness wiggles into our days.

It’s August. Something’s different.

Outdoor projects delayed till warm weather now are postponed till fall. Yards need extreme makeovers, but we’re so sick of yard work, we pay 4-Hers to release goats on our premises.

August presents an end-of-summer reality check. I purchased a “miracle” swimsuit in May. Now I realize the only miracle is that I paid big bucks for it.

August affects mothers strangely. Kids talk Mom into buying cool new backpacks, though 23 uncool backpacks languish at home. Mothers also obsess about changes in schedules: “Go to bed now so you’ll be ready when school starts.” My mother did this. As of August 1, all five of us went to bed at 4:00 p.m.

Even the sun listens to Mom and retires earlier in August. Yet during daytime, it unfurls golden rays as if leading an everlasting summer parade. Eating watermelon in the backyard, we experience a different kind of reality check: It’s been a great summer.

By August, every able-bodied Midwesterner has ridden a Ferris wheel and consumed a warm, crisp elephant ear.

We’re recovering from that gathering of DNA-related strangers known as a family reunion, when we rendezvoused with cousins who long ago sneaked into drive-ins with us. We kissed baby kin’s brand-new cheeks and gave grandmas and grandpas big hugs.

In August, homeowners stop vying for the Yard of the Year. Instead, we concede the grand champion ribbon to God for His spectacular pastures of goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace and Sweet Williams.

He treats us to evening concerts by cicada choirs. Fireflies, now veteran presenters, perform spectacular light shows at dusk with few technical glitches.

Whether we own farms or only farmers’ tans, the cornucopia of gardens, tasseled cornfields and leafy rows of soybeans reassure us: After harvest, we’ll celebrate with plenty of food on our tables.

All during August — the not-so-special month.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What do you like best about August?

How to Rationalize Watching a Ballgame

Image by Mahmur Marganti from Pixabay.

My name is Rachael, and I’m a ballgame-aholic. Sports rivet me to the small screen.

Although I was raised with the Midwestern work ethic. My mother scoffed at grown men who wasted time playing games with balls and sticks. When she not only hid the “TV Guide” and sport sections, but dispatched Dad’s recliner to the roof, our family got the message.

My husband’s family, though equally industrious, considered watching ballgames valid and Indiana University basketball sacred.

Consequently, Hubby doesn’t require many ballgame rationalizations, though he sometimes borrows from my vast collection. One favorite: we accuse each other of working too hard, then prescribe couch-potato bliss “to keep our blood pressures down.”

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay.

If this fails, we add respectability with semi-productive activities that don’t detract from the loafing essential to sports viewing.

First, we count the money in our wallets.

Okay, that took four seconds. What next?

We fold Hubby’s brown and black socks. He does this on autopilot, and I rarely bother to separate the two, so we can focus on the game.

Hubby polishes shoes. If the score’s tied in the final minutes, the difference between black and brown also escapes him. But my flip-flops look really shiny.

Image by James DeMers from Pixabay.

I consider cleaning my handbag. But what will emerge from its mysterious depths? A penny with two Lincolns might make us rich. However, a 50-year-old photo of an old boyfriend might distract us from the important business at hand.

Picking dead leaves off plants qualifies as a ballgame pastime, unless teams play overtimes. I enjoy the excitement, but bald plants do not.

Manicures, pedicures and ear-hair-trimming sessions also work, though they necessitate similar caution.

Hubby and I sort through cassette tapes and vinyl albums. We cannot bear to part with any of them, so such endeavors provide pleasant diligence without accomplishing anything.

Some couples file tax receipts, answer emails, or alphabetize canned goods while viewing a ballgame. Some have the effrontery to exercise. They even claim this is quality couple time.

Quality time? My husband and I snuggle, cheering our teams, snarling at referees, consoling and/or celebrating with hugs, smooches and buttery popcorn.

After 48-plus years of watching ballgames together, we know how to do quality time.

It’s the best ballgame rationalization ever.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you rationalize watching ballgames?

Summer Questions

On sultry summer days, do you sit on the porch — more likely, bask in air-conditioning — and ponder profound issues?

Me, too.

Skeptics might claim we’re procrastinating. We don’t want to mow or weed the garden for the 500th time. Or battle Japanese beetles that may as well own deeds to our rose beds.

No, I truly look for answers to my questions, including:

  • Unlike highway medians, why can’t our yards and gardens be declared prairie preservation areas?
  • Why would anyone invent platform flip-flops? A friend asks this question daily, as falling off her fashionable footwear put her in a walking boot.
  • My question: why would anyone buy them?
  • When temperatures sizzle, are you tempted to splat and zoom on a Slip ’N Slide®? (Me, neither.)
  • Do others feel embarrassed — and relieved — that their campers include air conditioners?
  • Why do summer mornings smell better every year?
  • Why do beach lovers strip down to strings — some wore pandemic masks bigger than their bathing suits — yet other bathers don more clothing than in January?
  • Why would anybody believe romaine should be grilled?
  • What summer food sometimes outranks (gasp!) ice cream? Though a lifetime addict, I believe on the hottest days, a chilled watermelon slice tastes even better. Besides, I can spit seeds at my spouse.
  • Why does my three-year-old grandson’s face, smeared with blueberries, appear adorable when my own toddlers’ gooey, blue kisses sent me running for my life — and a washcloth?
  • Tarry blacktop conjures teeth-gritting images of road construction. Endless balky traffic. Detours to Timbuktu. But does its fragrance generate positive memories for anyone else? Sweaty bike rides on country roads to a mom-and-pop store to buy icy, 10-cent bottles of cream soda? Or yakety cycling with teen friends to a bookmobile?
  • People are named June and August, but who’s named July?
  • Why do some summer outdoor wedding guests look ready for a Hollywood photo shoot, whereas other perspiring attendees — not me, you understand — look like they spent the afternoon in a dunk tank?
  • Which is best: lightning bugs, glowworms, or fireflies?
  • Why does the ice maker malfunction only when temperatures rise above 90?
  • Ditto for air conditioners. And freezers.
  • Which songs are hummed most during summer: Beach Boys’ hits? The ’50s classic, “A Summer Place”? Or “Summer Nights” from the musical, Grease?
  • While riding in the back of a pickup at 65 mph doesn’t carry its former appeal, do we children of yesteryear miss those wild, warm, nighttime breezes, the lavish, starry show above?
  • Thankfully, we don’t miss out on summer evening scents. Don’t they smell better every year?

Especially when neighbors mow grass. And nurture beautiful flowers.

All while I ponder these profound questions of summer.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What weighty quandaries fill your mind during summer?

August: the Not-So-Special Month?

My daughter once wished for a different birthday month. I referred her to God for further discussion.

I do see her point, however. August boasts no holidays — not even a fake holiday like St. Patrick’s Day. Nobody throws big parties on the eve of August 1, as they do in January.

The hotter the weather, the more we chill. Dressing up is wearing matched right and left flip-flops. Days pass before we turn the calendar page.

When we do, though, a tiny tadpole of awareness wiggles into our days.

It’s August. Something’s different.

Outdoor projects delayed till warm weather now have been postponed till fall. Yards need extreme makeovers, but we’re so sick of yard work, we pay 4-Hers to release goat herds on our premises.

August presents an end-of-summer reality check. I purchased a “miracle” swimsuit in May. Now I realize the only miracle is that I paid big bucks for it.

August affects mothers in peculiar ways. They buy pencil boxes, though no one in human history has ever proved pencil boxes serve a useful purpose. Kids talk Mom into buying cool new backpacks, though 23 uncool backpacks languish at home.

Mothers also obsess about imminent changes in schedules: “Go to bed now so you’ll be ready when school starts.” My mother, who had five kids, did this. As of August 1, we went to bed at 4:00 p.m.

Even the sun listens to Mom and retires earlier in August. Yet during daytime, it unfurls golden rays as if leading an everlasting summer, ticker-tape parade. While eating home-grown, ice-cold watermelon in the backyard, we experience a different kind of reality check:

It’s been a great summer.

By August, every able-bodied person in the Midwest has ridden a Ferris wheel and consumed a warm, crisp elephant ear.

While still recovering from that gathering of DNA-related strangers known as a family reunion, we rendezvoused with cousins who long ago sneaked into drive-ins with us. We kissed sweet baby kin’s brand-new cheeks and gave grandmas and grandpas a smile.

In August, homeowners stop vying for the Yard of the Year. Instead, we concede the grand champion ribbon to God for His spectacular pastures of goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace and Sweet Williams.

He treats us to evening concerts by cicada choirs that sing their best in August. Fireflies, now veteran presenters, perform spectacular light shows at dusk with few technical glitches.

Whether we own farms or only farmers’ tans, the ripe cornucopia of gardens, tasseled cornfields and leafy rows of soybeans reassure us: After harvest, we will celebrate with plenty of food on our tables.

All during August — the not-so-special month.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What do you like best about August?